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Sinai Palimpsests Project (2011 – )
St Catherine's Monastery

A collaboration of St. Catherine’s Monastery of the Sinai, Egypt, and EMEL, made possible by a generous five-year grant from Arcadia.

St. Catherine’s Monastery, the world’s oldest continually operating monastery, holds 130 known palimpsests. The erased writings on these palimpsests date from the 4th-12th centuries and are mostly unidentified. If these erased writings can be recovered, the potential for major discoveries is outstanding.

The project seeks to:

• Use spectral imaging to recover erased ancient texts on palimpsests of St. Catherine’s Monastery.
• Identify and paleographically describe the erased texts, as possible.
• Publish legible images online, rendered accessible by a searchable catalog.

View image gallery here…

Online presentation of project results will be a publication of St. Catherine’s Monastery.
[website under construction – coming soon]

 


Integrating Spectral and Reflectance

Transformation Imaging Technologies (2013-2014)

Funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities Digital Humanities Start-Up program.

This project seeks to integrate two proven technologies for imaging cultural artifacts:

• Spectral imaging, which collects detailed color data in order to recover information which is indistinguishable to the naked eye, such as unreadable text on a manuscript or stages of revision in a painting.
• Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI), which captures the detailed surface texture of artifacts. RTI images can be viewed interactively and enhanced, allowing scholars and conservators to reconstruct the methods by which an artifact was produced and to analyze its current physical condition.

 


Important Textual Witnesses in Vienna Greek Palimpsests (2013)

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EMEL provided spectral imaging and image processing to recover erased ancient texts on selected palimpsests at the Austrian National Library. An international team of scholars, under the direction of Prof. Otto Kresten, is now analyzing EMEL’s results to identify and reconstruct the erased texts.

Austrian National Library – Division of Byzantine Research (site translation from German to English)

View Image Gallery here…


Restoring David Livingstone’s Nyangwe Diary (2012)

Funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities Digital Humanities Start-Up program.

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Page of David Livingstone’s Nyangwe Diary, made with the materials he had at the time: a copy of The Standard and an ink from native plants


The David Livingstone Spectral Imaging Project is a collaborative, international effort to use spectral imaging technology and digital publishing to make available a series of faded, illegible texts produced by the famous Victorian explorer when stranded without ink or writing paper in Central Africa.

Visit the The David Livingstone Spectral Imaging Project here

 

 


Sinai Diaspora Project (2007- )

Detail of St. John the Evangelist from UCLA Special Collections Ms. 170-347, a 12th century Greek Gospels manuscript from St. Catherine’s Monastery of the Sinai, Egypt
Detail of St. John the Evangelist from UCLA Special Collections Ms. 170-347, a 12th century Greek Gospels manuscript from St. Catherine’s Monastery of the Sinai, Egypt

 

EMEL has a long-term program to digitize manuscripts which originate from St. Catherine’s Monastery of the Sinai, but which are now scattered in libraries in Europe and North America.

To date, EMEL has digitized a 12th century Greek Gospels codex held by UCLA Special Collections and two Georgian codices held by the National Centre of Manuscripts, Tbilisi, Georgia.

View image gallery here…

 


Next-Generation System for Imaging Fragile Codices (2006-2009)

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“Next-generation” digitization system for fragile codices, built by Stokes Imaging according to specifications by EMEL.

EMEL worked with Stokes Imaging of Austin, Texas, to develop a computer-controlled cradle which supports fragile manuscripts during digitization and which improves efficiency and lowers costs for the digitization of large collections of precious manuscripts.

This system is now installed at:

• St. Catherine’s Monastery of the Sinai, Egypt
• the Walters Art Museum, Baltimore
• UCLA